Broadband Penetration Balloons

Home broadband adoption surged last year, with 72 percent of Web users now connecting from high-speed lines--up from 57 percent one year ago, according to new data from Nielsen//NetRatings.

The company pegged the total number of home broadband users at 102.5 million as of last month, while the ranks of dial-up subscribers dwindled to 40.3 million.

Nielsen//NetRatings isn't the only company to have noticed a dramatic ballooning of broadband use. The Pew Internet & American Life Project last month reported a similar upswing--although with different overall numbers. Pew found that 84 million Americans had broadband in March--up from 60 million one year prior.

And this week, PricewaterhouseCoopers' report on global media attributed the ballooning online ad market--projected to grow at around 15 percent annually through 2010--to increased broadband adoption. "Growth in broadband subscribership has been a key driver of online advertising," states the PricewaterhouseCoopers report. "Broadband subscribers spend more time online than dial-up subscribers do; they visit more Web sites, and they buy more products online."

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Nielsen//NetRatings added that broadband users are more than three times as likely than dial-up subscribers to use Really Simple Syndication, and are twice as likely to publish a blog or create a personal Web page.

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